by Destiny Brown
If you’ve ever hung out and let loose on a weekend at the Flora-Bama, you’ve most likely already been serenaded by Tony-Ray Thompson. With regular gigs at the Bama, Thompson is a vocalist, guitar player, songwriter and performer that will have you hanging on to every word (and every guitar solo.)
Thompson comes from a long line of musicians in South Carolina and grew up watching his father and grandfather play guitar together. He was gifted his own guitar at the age of seven and the rest is history.
His first opportunity to join up with a band came when he was 17 years old when he became a member of the church band. It wasn’t until 22 that he played his first solo show at a local bar in Pensacola and aspired to make a living of it.
Currently, Thompson resides in Perdido Key, just a short distance from many of his gig venues on the Gulf Coast. However, Thompson plans to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee this month.
Thompson describes his style of music as a blend between outlaw country and southern rock.
“I grew up listening to southern rock and blues and got introduced to outlaw country in my late teens,” Thompson said. His musical influences include classic country outlaws like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, but also include Bob Seeger and Marshal Tucker.
Though his solo career is taking off, Thompson is also a free lance guitarist for hire. His band gigs mostly consist of sitting in with the Brian Hill Band, another Flora-Bama performer. However, the majority of his shows just include Thompson and his guitar.
Thompson is gifted on other musical instruments also such as the banjo, saxophone and clarinet.
Not only is Thompson a top-notch guitar player and vocalist, he is also an aspiring songwriter. He has brand new songs being released on his upcoming album, “Ain’t Over Yet,” which is also the title track to the album. The album should be coming out and available on Spotify this fall.
When asked his favorite thing about being a musician on the Gulf Coast, Thompson doesn’t hesitate to reply, “The family aspect of everything. I like being able to walk into a local bar and know people there. Family is wherever you go.”
Good things are happening for Tony-Ray Thompson and with the release of his upcoming album and move to Nashville, we can only expect more!
“If the creek don’t rise, good stuff will happen,” Thompson said.
Catch Thompson at the Flora-Bama on the weekends.